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Synopsis

A
34p
boy met a boy. They were in the flush of youth. They were in love that felt like a dream, like sparkling soda pop.

High school students Hikaru Kusakabe and Rihito Sajou are as different as day and night. But opposites attract and before they know it, they've embarked on a journey neither one can quite define but which anyone with eyes can see is "Love."

Their Story

It's summer. 

Hot, sticky summer and the 2nd-year boys at First East High School are prepping for college entrance exams. One morning it's announced by their teacher, Hara-sensei (aka Hara-sen), that they're to perform at a scheduled Choral Fesitval. Despite their lack of vocal training, Hara-sen has every confidence that the voices he's hearing will shape up in time. Hikaru Kusakabe isn't so sure.

Noticing that the dark-haired, bespectacled boy standing beside him is only mouthing the words, the blond Kusakabe wonders about his attitude. The non-singer is Rihito Sajou, a scholar well-known to the school's teachers. Kusakabe, apparently, is not as academically gifted, but he is a musician in a rock band and popular among his peers.

The school day ends. Realizing he's forgotten his bento-box in the classroom, Kusakabe heads back and finds Sajou sitting atop a desk, struggling with the music in his hand. The blond corrects his rhythmic errors by singing the passage for him, then sightreading a part of the song Hara-sen hasn't yet taught them. Sajou is mildly impressed and thanks him for the instruction. Kusakabe asks about Sajou not singing. The brunet tells him his eyeglass prescription is off, but when Kusakabe aks why he doesn't just ask to sit closer to the front, Sajou defers.

The two are about to part ways when Kusakabe asks if Sajou would like tutoring on the song until the festival. The brunet agrees and both boys are left wondering, "what's going on here?" Scene skip to Kusakabe's band rocking out at rehearsal with the blond still thinking about his interaction with Sajou. 

Lessons begin and Kusakabe discovers that Sajou can't read music, despite his academic brilliance, so he must learn by imitation and practice, practice, practice. When the song divides into parts, Kusakabe helps Sajou learn alto while he sings tenor. Kusakabe tentatively flirts with Sajou by complimenting himself and Sajou grudgingly agrees.

They begin spending afternoons together with Kusakabe's bandmates insisting that he bring food to rehearsal as compensation for being late. Kusakabe's wallet takes the hit and the lessons continue. In a final run-through with the class, we learn that Hara-sen is well-liked by his students who have worked hard to learn the song. Even Sajou is ready.

That evening, the two boys sit beside a fountain beneath the stars. Sajou buys Kusakabe a soda as thanks, now that tutoring is over. The blond considers this then asks why Sajou worked so hard to learn the music. Was it for Hara-sen? Sajou is taken aback, dropping his bottle. As it rolls on the pavement, both boys go to grab it. Their hands connect during the grab and something snaps in Kusakabe, who impetuously reaches for Sajou and kisses him, then runs off.

The festival arrives and the class sings their song with Kusakabe relieved that Sajou is doing well. Should that matter?  It was only tutoring and now it's done. Tears spring to his eyes and his emotions overwhelm him, prompting him to flee the auditorium with Sajou in pursuit. 

They run across campus, Kusakabe shouting that Hara-sen will be concerned about Sajou, who keeps following. Kusakabe finally stops and blurts out that he thinks he's fallen in love with Sajou, whose reaction is stunned silence. Kusakabe in now weeping that he's "helped the enemy," but Sajou reassures that he didn't do it for Hara-sen, but falters in expressing his feelings for Kusakabe. They're interrupted by the voices of a search party. Ducking into a storage shed, Kusakabe takes the opportunity to kiss Sajou again, who remains absolutely still.

Autumn arrives.

Kusakabe's bandmate wonders if there's something going on between the two boys who always seem to be together now. Kusakabe brushes it off, but not before Sajou overhears from the hallway. As the two boys walk to Sajou's cram school session, Sajou tries to distance himself, but Kusakabe is having none of that as they share an umbrella in the rain. Kusakabe advances; Sajou retreats. Kusakabe wins and this time, Sajou allows himself to be kissed, but suddenly pushes Kusakabe away. The blond wonders what the problem is since they're going out. Sajou denies it so Kusakabe points out that they kiss. Sajou's response is a resounding rebuff as he speeds off, alone.

Scene change to Kusakabe meeting with Hara-sen for advisement. The blond is uninterested in planning his future and instead, recites partial lines of poetry from his Classics class with Sajou. Hara-sen says he notices the boys being cold towards each other, of late. Kusakabe chides his nosy teacher who tells the blond that he's known Sajou since his first year at the school; but really, all the teachers know him. What? Kusakabe is troubled by the teacher's hinted feelings for Sajou, especially when the teacher tells him to tell Sajou to meet Hara-sen after school.

The boys meet at their classroom entrance. Sajou is dismissive. Kusakabe gets angry, but covers it with Hara-sen's request. Fine. Kusakabe is morose and leaves school with his bandmate. Meanwhile, Sajou meets with Hara-sen who bluntly inquires about the boy's relationship with Kusakabe. He vaguely points out that Sajou is gay, Kusakabe's interest is temporary, and that his own predilection is the same as Sajou's.

As Kusakabe heads home, he realizes that Sajou wasn't angry with him, but sad that things had changed. He rushes back to school and arrives at Hara-sen's office just in time to prevent the teacher from kissing Sajou. His anger pushes him to cold-conk the teacher on the head and pull Sajou away. Hara-sen falls to the ground, definitely injured.

They run and run until Sajou insists they stop. Kusakabe apologizes for interrupting and Sajou attempts to explain. Discomfort is in the air with the blond reciting the poem that served as lyrics for the song that first brought them together. He fumbles until Sajou completes the passage and memories reconnect them. It's then that Kusakabe summons his courage and asks Sajou to go out with him. Despite what that means, according to Hara-sen and everyone else, Sajou agrees.

Autumn ends.

The boys are in different classes as 3rd years. Kusakabe's band, ZGOK, has a farewell gig upcoming because their vocalist is heading off to an away-college. As the boys walk home, Sajou attempts to learn about Kusakabe's future plans, but the blond changes the subject by inviting Sajou to the concert after cram school on Friday night. This time, when he kisses Sajou, the brunet is receptive.

A brief scene with a teacher inquiring about Sajou's college plans reveals that he's applying to the same university attended by his parents and grandparents. It will mean living on his own since its far from home. This is something Sajou dwells upon as he heads to the club where ZGOK is performing.

There, he's a fish out of water amidst the regular crowd. His lack of familiarity with such a venue is obvious as he pauses, trying to decide what to drink. When another patron asks for a beer, the bartender mistakenly gives the drink to Sajou who is likely having the beverage for the first time. He also happens to overhear two girls gushing over Kusakabe, the guitarist.

ZGOK takes the stage and Sajou sees a different side to the blond - outrageous, talented and comfortable performing in public. Back in the dressing room, Kusakabe's bandmate asks if Sajou came, nearly calling him Kusakabe's boyfriend. Kusakabe waffles and instead of answering, engages in a chat-up with a smitten girl, exchanging numbers with her in front of his bandmates...and Sajou, hidden in the shadows.

Sajou heads out, chugging the beer, feeling rejected. Kusakabe calls Sajou's phone many times and many times he refuses to answer or engage in conversation. The brunet winds up laying in a sandbox in a playground, somewhere, deciding to end the relationship before he's further hurt.  Enter Kusakabe at a full run, throwing himself onto Sajou's prone form. After refusing to let go, the blond plants an open-mouthed kiss on the brunet, whose own open mouth ends up responding. Kusakabe pulls them into a seated position and they sit in one another's laps. There, Sajou asks if Kusakabe really likes being with him and Kusakabe goes on a rant before telling the boy, "Sajou is my number one." 

The overjoyed brunet embraces the blond, whose hands begin to explore Sajou's back as "punishment," much to Sajou's chagrin. Kusakabe's nonchalant attitude keeps Sajou grounded until a hand "slips" to his front and Sajou pulls away, moritified. Still, as Kusakabe tells him, it's all recorded in his mind for future replay.

Summer again.

It's been a year and they're again in summer school prepping for entrance exams. Kusakabe is pushing Sajou for more intimacy and Sajou is heating up, slowly. Wondering if Sajou wants to take things to the next step, Kusakabe inquires of Hara-sen about two guys having sex and Hara-sen yanks them both out of the populated office and onto the school's roof where they smoke cigarettes, both defying school rules. Hara-sen reveals that Sajou will be going to Kyoto for college, far away. This is news.

That evening, at the fountain where they first kissed, Kusakabe and Sajou confront one another about their lack of communication about their respective futures and general lack of knowledge about one another. Crisis and separation ensues during the summer break. Kusakabe goes to an onsen in Akita with his bandmate while Sajou attends cram school. They both come to realizations about being in a relationship.

On the morning of the mock exam, Sajou grows nauseous on the train. While in a faint, he has a dream about Kusakabe and he being connected by a yellow ribbon. When the ribbon is cut, Kusakabe's attitude is one of "go with the flow" while Sajou wants to keep things "as is."  He comes to with Kusakabe beside him on the train platform. It's 9:30am and the mock test begins at 10:00am. Sajou is convinced he'll be late and fail yet again, just as he has every other exam for his schools of choice; all because of the train. Kusakabe reminds him that it's okay to fail because that's how they ended up as classmates. They use Kusakabe's motorcycle to get Sajou to the test center. On the way, they recommit to one another and upon leaving Kusakabe at the test center steps, Sajou leans in and kisses Kusakabe voluntarily, sending the blond into a tailspin.

After the test, the two sit curbside, beneath the trees with the wind blowing gently.  Kusakabe says he hopes Sajou did well, but Sajou replies that the results don't matter because "as long as you're with me...that's enough for me."  Kusakabe wants a kiss. Sajou refuses because there are people around. Fine. A few moments pass before Sajou touches Kusakabe's hair. The blond looks at him and Sajou kisses him.

Their second summer ends.

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